April 1973 to 1980: After March 1973, Fender dropped the old style date stamp and continued to use the new style, 8-digit code. 1976 to present: All non-vintage reissue instruments have the serial number printed on the decal on the face of the peghead.
The approximate production year can be determined from this (more about serial numbers will follow).
Determining the date can also be important from a collector’s perspective, since the pre-1966 vintage Fender guitars are generally considered the most valuable.
The next number is the production year, in this case 9 = 1969.
The next one or two digits are for the month, here 10 = October.
From the production of the first solidbody Fender guitars and until 1976, Fender tagged a production date at the butt of the detachable neck of their guitars.
Only about half the guitars still carry any intelligible information here.
For example, let’s take a Stratocaster with the serial number 279515 and the code 22384109B.
Starting with the letter B, this is the same neck width code Fender has been using since 1962.
A example of this is “02033923” found on a Jazz Bass.
From 1972 through about March 1973, this new system was used concurrently with the previous “XX MMM-YY W” format.
Finally, the first one or two digits of the code tells you which model you are holding; 22 being a Stratocaster.